At one of my articles, I wrote about sleep deprivation and simple ways to help get through it.
Have we ever asked ourselves: Why do we need sleep? Well, of course we have – and we also assumed that we know why. Let’s go deeper on how important sleep is and what harm it can do to our body if we don’t get enough of it.
Every one of us has difficulty sleeping sometimes, and in general, most of us probably need more and improved sleep than we’re already getting. Yet good quality of sleep can be the first thing to be compromised when we’re hectic, over-stressed, or suffering from depression.
Think: What difference could an extra hour of sleep make in your life? Maybe quite a lot, scientists say, more than we think. The way you feel while you’re awake and conscious depends on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to sustain healthy brain function and preserve your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.
Getting good sleep isn’t only about total hours of sleep. Good sleep is restful and uninterrupted.
Certain medical conditions have been linked to sleep disorders. These conditions include heart failure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke or transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke), depression, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
If you’re getting less than the recommended hours of sleep at a night, here are 3 basic reasons that you should shut down your computer, turn the lights off, and get some rest earlier than what you got used to.
- Sleep provides you healthy brain function and emotional well-being.
Sleep helps your brain work as it should. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. Amazing how that happens, right? Don’t put it to waste by staying up late for unworthy reasons. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative; thus, helping you learn.
- It plays a huge role for you physical health.
Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity. Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin).
Sleep also supports healthy growth and development, as well as a role in puberty and fertility. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults.
- Sleep boosts your immune system
Sleeping better may help you fight off illness. In fact, bed rest may make your flu shot work better as well. A lot of studies have proven that those who slept less than 7 hours were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more.
- Daytime Performance and Safety
For example, drowsy drivers may feel capable of driving. How harmful could that be? Not only for the drivers – sleep can affect people in all lines of work, including health care workers, pilots, students, lawyers, mechanics, and assembly line workers.
Getting enough quality sleep at the right times helps you function well throughout the day – a huge part of that is it gives you a good mood. Some people aren’t aware of the risks of sleep deficiency. In fact, they may not even realize that they’re sleep-deficient. Even with limited or poor-quality sleep, they may still think that they can function well.
How much sleep do we need?
- Babies: 16 hours per day
- Children: 9-16 hours per day
- Teenagers: 9 hours per day
- Adults: most need 7-8 hours, but some may need as few as 5 or as many as 10
- Pregnant women may need more sleep than usual
- Older adults may sleep for shorter periods of time, more often.
The amount of sleep you need each day will change over the course of your life – for the better. Even though sleep needs vary from person to person, the chart below shows general references for all age groups.
Make changes to your routine if you can’t find enough time to sleep.
Sleep is food for the brain. Not getting enough sleep is just like eating unhealthy food. Skipping sleep can be harmful — even deadly. Plus, it can make you look bad (no one wants this), you may feel moody, and you perform poorly.
Remember: A brain that is hungry for sleep will find ways to get it, even when you least expect it.
Share us your story by commenting below!